- Religion and Philosophy
British Physicist Resolves Biblical Discrepancy about Christ's Last Supper
Colin Humphrey publishes The Mystery of the Last Supper
Professor Sir Colin Humphreys is a British physicist at Cambridge University who studies the Bible when not at work in his day job. Sir Humphreys has just published (March 2011) a book The Mystery of the Last Supper: Reconstructing the Final Days of Christ. This is significant because atheists and other anti-Biblicists like us to think that rational, educated people such as scientists do not believe in the Bible.
The basic premise of Humphrey’s book is that the Last Supper Jesus had with his disciples actually took place on Wednesday instead of Thursday as traditionally thought. His knowledge of physics helped him in reassembling the truth. He contends that the misunderstanding arises from the differences in the calendars used in determining the beginning of the Passover in A.D. 33. His explanation also clears up the apparent contradiction between the synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John.
Colin Humphrey's books
Two different calendars used by Gospel writers
He argues that Jesus chose to use the Jewish calendar that was used in Moses’ day in determining the beginning of Passover as being on Wednesday and which was also referred to in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. The most commonly used calendar of Jesus day and the one referred to by John in his Gospel marked Thursday as the beginning of Passover. Humphreys suggests that Jesus chose the earlier calendar to symbolically link Himself with Moses and the original Passover that occurred in Egypt. Jesus then proceeded to die two days later at the same time as the Passover lambs were being slain. Humphreys says that by celebrating His Last Supper on the exact anniversary of the first Passover, he was proclaiming Himself as the new Moses by leading his people out of slavery (the slavery of sin which the Exodus out of Egypt is a type of) into a new life.
His assumption allows for more time for Jesus’ arrest, cross-examination and trials. He has determined that the Last Supper date was April 1, 33AD and therefore concludes that Easter Day should be fixed on the first Sunday in April.
Other books about The Last Supper and Bible miracles
Other scholars agree with the findings
Alan Millard of the University of Liverpool agrees with these findings and has been quoted as saying “by linking scientific knowledge with biblical study, Colin Humphreys gives a welcome demonstration of a way apparent contradictions in the Gospels may be reconciled.” So who says science and the Bible can’t agree? Michael Quicke of Northern Seminary says “…it reinforces the veracity of the New Testament record.”
Sir Humphrey’s new conclusions build upon research he did previously in 1983 in which he identified the date of Jesus’ crucifixion as Friday, April 3, AD 33. This date has since become widely accepted by other scholars.
Sir Humphreys also wrote a book published in 2003 entitled The Miracles of Exodus: a Scientist Reveals the Extraordinary Natural Causes Underlying the Biblical Miracles. He explains that though miracles can be explained scientifically by natural causes, they are still miracles because of the timing of their occurrences.